Tom Clancy’s The Division was arguably my most anticipated game ever since it was first teased all those years ago during Ubisoft’s “one last thing” moment they like to do during their E3 press conferences. Thankfully, even after all the delays the game suffered, the end product turned out well, and I found myself fully invested in it after it launched in March.
After finishing the campaign and dumping a ton of time into it thanks to the glut of side missions and content, I found my interest starting to wane a bit. The Dark Zone was fun, but as a typical solo player, it wasn’t sustainable. Not only that, the months of March, April, and May proved to once again be a busy release period as big name games like Quantum Break, Overwatch, Uncharted 4 and a variety of others managed to steal away my attention.
Still, each big update brought me back just to see what changes have been made. I have to admit, while the ride hasn’t always been smooth, Massive continues to evolve the experience, adding difficult but rewarding Incursion missions, High Value Targets to hunt and defeat in the open world, and new gear for players to find. However, the first expansion called Underground is by the far the most radical change the game has seen, and for me at least, it completely breathes new life into it.
The biggest thing for me as a predominantly solo player is feeling like I’m continuing to make progress, whether that is by getting loot I can use or finishing missions without having to die 20 times to overcome it. This is where Underground succeeds the most by introducing the new area called The Terminal, a hub world that exists under the Base of Operations. In this new social space, players can interact with a terminal after finishing two new story missions, setting up custom runs which are randomized each time you play, making them highly replayable.
The best way to describe them is to think of them like Nephalim/Greater Rifts from Diablo III. Essentially, these are randomized dungeons that players can constantly play through in order to score guaranteed high end loot. What’s better is that these runs are fairly short, so you can run them multiple times without spending too much of your time, especially if you keep things on normal difficulty. At the end of each run, players are rewarded with Underground caches which can be opened to award anything from high end loot to the new set item pieces.
Players looking for an added challenge can customize these runs by changing the difficulty and/or adding modifiers which change how you play the experience. These include disabling the minimap, giving players less ammo drops, or other negative effects. Adding modifiers and difficulty give players greater rewards and experience for leveling their underground score, opening the door to purchase new loot and blueprints from specific vendors, similar to how the Dark Zone works. As with the rest of the game, matchmaking is available, so take advantage of it because failing an operation is essentially game over.
Want to gear up quickly after being away from the game? Go to the Underground.
In my opinion, Underground has already proven to offer some of the more interesting content since the game launched. These operations are a nice change of pace and one that solo players like myself can really embrace and still feel like you’re making progress. If this is the route Massive is planning on going with the next two expansions, then I’m back on board. I’m glad the developer is trying to introduce new mechanics with these expansions, rather than just doubling down on what is already there. If the teaser trailer for Survival is anything to go by, it appears we may be getting some more new game changing elements soon.